Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Dining Top; 5 Sri Lankan Restaurants

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Dining Top; 5 Sri Lankan Restaurants

Article excerpt


JAFFNA HOUSE PALM PALACE CINNAMON GARDENS SIGIRI There is something very endearing about our Sri Lankan restaurants: many of them are small, a good many of them have a strangely amateur feel to them, and they tend to be very cheap. Not a bad set of core values. The cuisine is rich with coconut and, when authentic, it is often chilli hot. Here are five places where you can try out Sri Lankan specialities.

90 Tooting High Street, SW17 (020-8672 7786).

Mon-Sun [pounds sterling]24 .....

The Jaffna House is small and scruffy. At the front there's a cafe and takeaway area, while the Spartan dining room is at the back. The starters are great here and you can make a very good meal just by ordering a succession of appetisers. There are vaipan, which are deep-fried balls of stodge sweetened with banana. Or there are mutton rolls, which are stuffed pancakes bread-crumbed and deep fried. And fish cutlets, which are just a Sri Lankan take on the humble fishcake.

It is also worth trying a 'devilled' dish - these are dry curries and can be hot. The service is friendly and the prices are astonishingly low.

PRINCE OF CEYLON 39 Watford Way, NW4 (020-8203 2121). Mon-Sun [pounds sterling]35 .....

This place claims to be the oldest Singalhese restaurant in Europe, and it has certainly grown steadily over the past 25 years, expanding to occupy a pair of shopfronts that face onto Watford Way.

This is a good opportunity to try hoppers - the standard hopper is a crisp bread made in a bowl-shaped pan. But the string hoppers are very strange and made from fine rice flour noodles, like a savoury string vest. Team them with some gravy like kiri hodi - a coconut milkbased curry sauce. The Prince also offers watalappan, an authentic Sri Lankan pud - like a creme caramel made with palm syrup.

80 South Road, Southall, Middx (020-8574 9209).

Mon-Sun [pounds sterling]28 .....

The Palm Palace is a Sri Lankan outpost in Southall.

It is a small place and still grubby despite a modest refurb in 2004, but all is redeemed by the astonishingly low prices.

The menu has a nostalgic air to it as you'll find 'Ceylon' curries listed - there was a time when that name was shorthand for something gloopy, hot and topped with a pineapple ring! Another of the house specialities is Chicken 65, a Sri Lankan dish whose name allegedly derives from being made from a 65-day-old chicken (any younger and it wouldn't have much taste, any older and it would be too tough).

42-44 Ealing Road, Wembley, Middx (020-8902 0660).

Mon-Sun [pounds sterling]35 .....

Cinnamon Gardens is a bright and modern restaurant in the middle of Ealing Road.

The dining room is all minty green and apricot with a tiled floor and some ostentatiously modern chairs, which thankfully prove comfortable. …

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